I called 20/20 GeneSystems CEO and founder Jon Cohen last week to see how his startup was doing. 20/20 has developed machine-learning algorithms that help flag cancers that would otherwise go undetected using conventional approaches. And we recommended you invest in the startup back in December of 2017.
Jon had some good news. “You’ll be pleased to hear I just got off the phone with Ping An from China. Can’t wait to tell you about the business opportunities we’re discussing. They’re huge.”
Huge is an understatement. First, Ping An is an absolute behemoth. It’s the world’s second-largest insurance company according to Statista. And its Ping An Good Doctor telemedicine app (operated by its health tech group) has more than 300 million subscribers. That’s almost as much as the entire U.S. population.
Ping An is also a big investor in 20/20. Back in 2016, it wrote a $2 million check, funding development of 20/20’s OneTest early cancer detection technology. 20/20 uses proven biomarkers and accuracy-improving, machine-learning algorithms to provide early cancer detection.
Just this winter, 20/20 was also among 11 companies selected worldwide to participate in Ping An’s five-month Cloud Accelerator Program. The program, which accepts only 3% of applicants for each five-month “class,” helps startups foster collaboration and partnerships with Ping An’s dozens of business groups. 20/20 will use the program to help it gain access to Ping An’s Good Doctor app subscribers and Ping An Health’s hundreds of millions of customers. (A feature story discussing Ping An’s leadership in big data and artificial intelligence appeared last July in Fortune magazine and can be accessed here.)
Jon said he’s discussing with Ping An several ways to roll out 20/20’s technology to Ping An’s massive base of customers – perhaps beginning with a pilot as early as this year.
“We’re aiming to get things rolling over the next 12 months and put it into high gear in 2022 through accessing millions of Ping An’s customers,” Jon said.
“Most people over 35 – in China and elsewhere in Asia – get at least one test a year targeting two biomarkers, and sometimes more,” Jon explained. “So we’ve developed a ‘universal algorithm’ based on the most common two-biomarker test (AFP and CEA). Ping An’s customers could be our first, or one of our first, major users.”
“It would be game-changing,” Jon added.
OneTest revenue is picking up. In the fourth quarter of 2019, it reached $133,000 (on top of revenue from legacy products), more than double the previous quarter. 20/20 projects revenue will exceed $1 million this year and $3 million next year (with more than half coming from overseas customers). It has a pipeline of requests for quotes totaling in the thousands. Most come from fire departments in the U.S., which order 300 to 400 tests at a time. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies show firefighters have higher cancer incidence and death rates than the general population.)
The company plans to target the nation’s retail clinics and pharmacies in the future. The biggest ones, like CVS, Walmart and Safeway, are adding walk-in health clinics that will provide blood testing services. Jon believes that the OneTest will be a great fit for these clinics. People can stroll into their corner drugstore, take 20/20’s OneTest and go online three days later to see the results.
It’s a vision that is already being realized in clinics outside of the U.S. From Russia to Japan, clinics are adopting 20/20’s testing system.
20/20 processed 200 blood samples last week. And Jon says because those numbers are going up every week, 20/20 remains a great startup investment opportunity.
20/20 is raising on StartEngine. The minimum investment is $501.60. 20/20’s valuation has gone from $23 million when we invested in December 2017 to a current pre-money valuation of $35 million. You can buy shares in its current raise for $4.40 per share.
If you’re interested in learning more, and possibly investing, click here to visit 20/20’s StartEngine deal page.